The Forecheck: Where UConn's goalie battle stands after one month
Arsenii Sergeev has played well early in his college career, but Logan Terness has been nearly unbeatable.
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Breaking down UConn’s goalie battle after one month
After a furious start to the season with eight games in the first four weekends and nine games in October, UConn men’s hockey finally got a chance to catch its breath with an off weekend following a 5-1 win over Boston College on Thursday.
Somehow, the Huskies are already roughly a quarter of the way into their season (assuming they play 36 games, their average most years) despite still having over four and a half months remaining.
With the calendar turning to November, it’s an appropriate time to check into UConn’s most intriguing positional battle: Goaltender. Coming into the year, the Huskies had two talented but unproven options in sophomore Logan Terness and Arsenii Sergeev.
The pair have rotated each game and they’ve each performed well despite having drastically different styles. They’ve both come up with clutch saves at crucial moments and are clearly trusted by their teammates and the coaching staff. On any given night, UConn has a quality netminder between the pipes.
With just a single game on the schedule this past weekend, it seemed like Mike Cavanaugh would finally have to tip his hand and show who his preferred goaltender is. That idea fell flat postgame.
“It was his turn,” Cavanaugh said when asked why Terness started. “Arsenii played the last one so Logan played tonight.”
Even if the coach won’t announce a No. 1 option — and there’s no reason to at this point — Terness has clearly established himself as UConn’s top goalie through the first month. In five starts, he owns a 1.18 goals against average and .956 save percentage, ranking second nationally and first among goalies with more than two games played.
Terness has won games in different ways, too. He faced just 16 shots in his first two games before earning a 43-save shutout in his third game against Ohio State. In his last action, Terness put his clutch gene on display with a handful of timely saves at crucial moments of the contest and also showed off an ability to make acrobatic stops for the first time all season. Few have better technique than the sophomore and he rarely finds himself out of position. On most of the goals Terness has allowed, he doesn’t see the shot because of a screen.
Sergeev has also played extremely well — just not as well as Terness. He has a 2.24 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. For reference, UConn’s Hockey East Era single-season goaltending records are both held by Darion Hanson, who had a 2.24 GAA and .923 save percentage last year.
The freshman’s size and athleticism are impressive, and he’s used both to make jaw-dropping saves throughout the season. At Boston University, Sergeev made a stop that seemed nearly impossible — so much so that the goal light went on — late in the third period. He does have a tendency to flail more than Terness and as a result, can make some saves look harder than they need to be. Sergeev also ends up out of position more than his counterpart, though it’s still not a frequent occurrence.
For now, UConn doesn’t need to establish a clear No. 1. It’s still early in the season — and early in Sergeev’s career — so it makes sense to keep both players fresh and give opposing teams the challenge of facing two goalies with such different styles. As the final stretch nears, the Huskies should start to give one player the lion’s share of starts and by that point, the decision should be easy with such a large sample size.
Week in review
From the UConn Hockey Hub:
From The UConn Blog:
Weekly Power Rankings (College Hockey Insider) — UConn up to No. 4.
Ryan Tverberg was named Hockey East Player of the Week while Jake Percival, Roman Kinal, and Logan Terness earned weekly top performer honors.
First star: Ryan Tverberg
Tverberg scored a pair of goals in the third period to help seal UConn’s win over Boston College, while also adding an assist. He continues to make plays all over the ice and increased his goal total to a team-leading seven — three more than the next closest player. Tverberg is also the first Husky to reach double-digit points with 11.
Second star: Logan Terness
Terness turned in one of his best performances of the season against Boston College. He kept UConn in the game during a string of penalties — including a five-on-three — in the second period and then helped preserved the lead when the Eagles turned the tide in the third period.
Third star: Adam Dawe
With no clear third standout, Dawe gets the nod for recording his first goal in a UConn uniform. He set up the entire play by blocking a shot, taking it down the ice and then putting the shot in off BC goalie Mitch Benson for the Huskies’ fifth and final goal.
Play of the Week
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The week ahead
UConn men’s hockey is home for a two-game series against Maine while UConn women’s hockey has a big series with Boston College on tap.